The collaboration between Shelter Movers of Toronto (SMT) and Toronto Police was celebrated at a domestic violence training day at the police college on November 22.
“The partnership between the police and our organization is incredibly important as we are all working to support domestic violence and help women leave their homes and start over,” said board chair Vicky Sage.
Officers sometimes are called upon to assist Shelter Movers in a precautionary role for abused women and their children.
“When they call the police, we want to ensure the response times are good and that the officers are familiar with Shelter Movers,” said Det. Ann-Marie Tupling, the Service’s Sex Crimes Domestic Violence & Child Abuse Coordinator who spearheaded the organization of the one-day event. “If there is a risk involved in the move, they will call police to ensure that everything goes smoothly.”
Launched two years ago, SMT is a moving company for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
“We started with one to two moves a week,” said Sage. “Now, we are up to five to six. The demand is there for our services and we are looking to expand our volunteer base to meet the needs of every woman that calls us. We do whatever it takes to support women to leave.”
Yael Schwartz, SMT’s intake and operations manager, joined the organization about 30 months ago.
“Providing moving services at no cost is something that appealed to me,” she said.
Lisa Henderson, who has been on secondment as the provincial crown co-ordinator for the Provincial Strategy to Combat Internet Crimes Against Children since 2006, spoke about the non-consensual distribution of images.
“I think that comes back to the fact that we still live in a world where women are shamed and their sexuality can be used as a tool of control or embarrassment for them. So a woman having sexualized images of her put on the internet has a very different impact than a man,” Henderson said.